• Alison enters Oxford University!

    Read her account of it here: 

    AB: I’ve just returned from Somerville College, one of the colleges of Oxford University, and one of the very first for women. I spoke for an hour on the topic of Women in the Arts, a subject which is dear to me.

    I felt extremely honoured to be invited to such a prestigious institution to come and give this lecture. I spoke to these fearless young people, who will be leaders in the years to come, and it made me think about just how much energy can be wasted in the media when they focus on, and ask women pointless questions about their gender. Nowadays, there are so many more relevant, productive and powerful things to be curious about when learning from our stories, not as women, but as people. 

    I was both inspired and challenged during the process of writing the talk I gave. The topics included my own particular path into the music profession and music industry, and the opportunities and challenges I experienced; gender differences and equality in general - in the brass world, the music world, and as a parent; how to negotiate for yourself; what it takes to attain, and then maintain a career as as solo performer; the correlation of likability and success for men versus women; the differences I’ve encountered teaching masterclasses at Conservatories internationally; discipline and transferrable skills; my thoughts on the early 21st century as ‘The Age of the Artist’; the recording industry and it’s changes; how to make your own opportunities; the value of the arts on our society; and having courage to go forward into the arts for both genders, but especially for women.

    The warm welcome and attentive listening I experienced perfectly reflected the ethos of Somerville College, and it was impossible not to find their lust for life infectious.

    Thank you!
  • Going local

    Alison is excited to announce her forthcoming UK tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. They are heading north to Stoke, Manchester, Leicester and Leeds - dates and tickets here.  It's part of the Live and Local series, supported by JTI. The idea is for fresh programming and uniform ticket prices of £15. 

    Previous tours have featured Alison's collaborator and colleague from BBC Young Musician, Milos, and Holst's The Planets with footage from NASA; this year's theme is Americana, with the new jazz-inspired concerto for trumpet Songs of the Paradise Saloon by Mr Bramwell Tovey. 

    Here's how Alison describes the piece:

    'Every section of the orchestra really has something to get their teeth into with this concerto! Songs From the Paradise Saloon by Bramwell Tovey is a riotous romp through a variety of styles and moods, whilst telling a very compelling story about a charismatic real life baddie in the wild west. It puts the trumpet soloist through their paces as it makes the most of the multi faceted personality that the trumpet in the 21st century is able to convey.'

    Alison's really pleased to be working with the LPO; they share values about improving access to classical music, and they are also the orchestra that can be heard on many film soundtracks, such as Lord of the Rings. 

     'I’m thrilled about this collaboration with the LPO. Not only are they unquestionably one of the world’s best orchestras, they also have a tremendous infectious spirit that I believe anyone from the most discerning classical music lover, to the child attending for the very first time, can tap into. Whilst I was forging my career as a soloist I also partook in a number of tours playing in the trumpet section of the orchestra, so it is with joy and excitement that I return to play with my old friends and colleagues again in this capacity…'

    20 April | The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
    Tickets: £17 (including booking fee)
    Booking: 0161 907 9000 |

    21 April | Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent
    Tickets: £17.50 (including booking fee)
    Booking: 01782 206000 |

    22 April | Leeds Town Hall
    Tickets: £15 (plus booking fees: £1 per ticket online; £2.50 per transaction by phone; no fee in person)
    Booking: 0113 224 3801 |

    2 May | De Montfort Hall, Leicester
    Tickets: £15 (plus £3 per transaction fee)
    Booking: 0116 233 3111 |
  • A more thoughtful fanfare

    This year sees Alison doing some public speaking about the profession and her industry, in addition to her concert appearances. Turns out that her 20-year career so far - touring and collaborating, negotiating recording and live contracts, working with charitable organisations and in education - has taught her quite a lot! 

    Last year, she gave a TED talk at the Royal Albert Hall (see image above). Her short talk ‘Music as a Healer’ is about a few of her personal experiences of some of the benefits that engagement with music can bring. You can watch it here.

    This year, the good people of Oxford University will get the benefit of her experience in a talk with a slightly feminist angle as part of Somerville College's arts week (1st-8th March). Later in March she'll be giving the opening address to fellow music industry professionals at the ISM's conference Make Music Work at the Guildhall School in London. Read about it here.

    Watch this space for highlights and/or directions to livestreams, or, if you're local, you can find tickets through the separate event websites.  This Spring's chance to hear some of the thoughtfulness behind the fanfares!

  • Alison Balsom's iTunes Festival performance: last chance to watch

    The trumpet virtuoso's concert is still available to stream free on iTunes... But only until next week.

    If you missed Alison Balsom's spectacular concert as one of the classical stars headlining the iTunes Festival at London's historic Roundhouse, you can still catch the show on iTunes or Apple for a limited time.

    Accompanied by lush orchestra, Balsom played irresistible music from her latest album Paris. The British trumpeter has spent much of October on a major tour bringing the sights, sounds and sensuality of the French capital to concert halls around the UK.

    Stream the iTunes Festival concert for free here.

  • Balsom plays The Beach Boys in BBC Music's all-star supergroup

    Alison Balsom is one of 27 seriously big talents chosen by the BBC to record an extravagant cover version of the Beach Boys 1966 classic God Only Knows, celebrating the launch of BBC Music, described by the media service as "an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years".

    The single's accompanying video is as extravagant as the line-up, dubbed "The Impossible Orchestra" by the BBC, featuring artists from all genres including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Florence Welch, Jamie Cullum, Coldplay's Chris Martin, and the song's originator Brian Wilson each singing or playing a line from the Pet Sounds hit. (Other classical musicians include violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Danielle de Niese — accompanied by the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra.)

    The clip features Alison Balsom in a regal golden feathered gown, playing trumpet suspended in a giant bird cage. Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue floats by in a bubble as London's Alexandra Palace Theatre is transformed into a lush jungle paradise.

    Balsom and the other artists gave their time for free, with the single released today in aid of BBC Children in Need, a cause close to the trumpeter's heart. The track, a first-time collaboration between Warner, Sony and Universal Music, is available to download with the proceeds going to charity.

    The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson said: "All of the artists did such a beautiful job. I can’t thank them enough. God Only Knows is a very special song, an extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written."